What a privilege it was attending the opening night of the very last show of the 2022-2033 opera season – Richard Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman” presented by Vancouver Opera; the largest opera company in Western Canada.
There is only one show left -on May 7th. See link below for tickets.
The performances always take place at the spectacular *Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The theatre is a perfect setting to complement the range of productions that are staged here with an atrium that has sweeping staircases, gorgeous chandeliers and reflective surfaces. Snacks and wine are available to purchase before the show and during intermission.
Sidenote: you guessed it – the theatre was named after its most famous patron, the late Queen Elizabeth II, who attended a concert here when the theatre opened in July 1959.
Turbulence at Sea
The Flying Dutchman is a haunting story based on a European maritime legend about a sailor and his daughter who encounter a ghost during a storm at sea.
The Dutchman, who has been condemned to wander for eternity, is searching for a bride to finally bring him peace. This tragic tale of love and sacrifice is the composer’s first masterpiece and features magnificent orchestration of Wagnerian proportions.
Not to jump ahead but I’m really looking forward to next season’s productions which will begin with Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” followed by “Don Pasquale” and finally the towering opera classic “Carmen.”
With my friend Rosa who is an avid opera enthusiast. I can always count on Rosa to be my plus-one for an opera date and we enjoy a glass of wine before the show and a late night snack afterwards – usually at Joey’s on Burrard (fyi: the kitchen there closes at 1:30 am)
*Built in 1959 as part of an international design competition, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre served as a prototype for more than a generation of theatre complexes across Canada and the U.S. The architects’ vision was to create a “strong, unitary building” that gave “maximum delight and spatial excitement”.
What woman worth her weight in fashion magazines from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, (even the 2000’s) doesn’t remember trailblazing supermodel Beverly Johnson gracing the pages and many of the covers of every top magazine?
The answer is none!
As a former fashion magazine junkie I remember her well. She was a super model and I thought she was super stunning – shestill is.
Johnson rose to fame when she made world history by becoming the first black model to grace the cover of American Vogue and French Elle in 1974, forever changing the beauty ideal in the fashion world.
During her long career she managed to grace over 500 magazine covers and remains one of the most iconic figures in the world of fashion and modeling.
Now she’s coming to Palm Springs for the World Premiere of her one woman show “Beverly Johnson, NAKED.” Presented by Palm Springs Women in Film and Television and the Palm Springs Cultural Center.
Co-written by Johnson and *Joshua Ravetch, Naked! tells Johnson’s story beginning with her ground breaking photo on the cover of Vogue Magazine. This empowering live performance will take place at the Palm Springs Cultural Center on June 2nd at 6pm.
“Her life took an unexpected turn when she broke her silence, went public, and revealed that she, too, was drugged by Bill Cosby,” said Josh Ravetch, director of the show. That disclosure became part of the key momentum that, in-part, helped to launch the #MeToo movement.
Johnson remains one of the most influential African-Americans in America. Named as one of the “20th Century’s 100 Most Influential People in the Fashion Industry” by The New York Times and listed as Oprah Winfrey’s “25 top legends.”
Her impact is truly worldwide but she’s also an acclaimed author, actress, media icon, businesswoman, loving mother and grandmother.
Her most notable and personal testament is imparted in her 2015 memoir, “The Face That Changed It All,” a New York Times Best Seller. Devoted to sharing her luxury taste with her audience, BEVERLY JOHNSON LUXURY LIFESTYLE BRAND is dedicated to present the finest of beauty, health, fashion, home and lifestyle.
In 2016, Johnson was honored by The Palm Springs Walk of Stars with the 405th Star Dedication award.
I was really looking forward to seeing the show and also meeting her. However, I’ll have left Palm Springs before the time her show arrives here in June. Hopefully I’ll get another chance.
Addendum to this post – on Saturday, April 8th I met Beverly by chance at the Palm Springs 85th Anniversary Car Show. She was very pleasant and I asked her about the show. At this time unfortunately she’s not planning to do extra shows.
In good company – (taken from Eventbrite, Palm Springs Cultural Center):
*Joshua Ravetch is best known for his collaboration with actress/writer Carrie Fisher, co-creating and directing her in The Geffen Playhouse’s world premiere of Wishful Drinking, Ms. Fisher’s smash-hit one-woman-show. The play enjoyed an extended run on Broadway at Studio 54 and was adapted into a special for HBO. Mr. Ravetch was collaborating with Ms. Fisher to the sequel to Wishful Drinking: Wishful Drinking Strikes Back, a Geffen Playhouse commission, at the time of her passing.
Also at The Geffen playhouse, Ravetch co-wrote and directed Dick Van Dyke in his first-ever one-man show, Step in Time! A Musical Memoir. In the show, Van Dyke took audiences to the rooftops of London for a magical journey from Mary Poppins to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang including hilarious moments from th Dick Van Dyke Show involving a certain ottoman.
Palm Springs Women in Film & Television (PSWIFT ) is a nonprofit organization, founded in 2001, dedicated to empowering, promoting, educating and nurturing its members – both women and men – involved in the entertainment, communication and media industries.
The Palm Springs Cultural Center is a non-profit organization whose mission is to incubate, produce and encourage arts and cultural programs in order to leverage the unique power of creativity to open minds, bridge what divides us, and discover what connects us. As an organization, The Palm Springs Cultural Center is also at the forefront of recognizing the interconnection between the cultural arts and food culture, and their combined importance to the vitality, collective consciousness and sustainability of the community.
Never has art and fashion co-existed so fervently as with the Coachella Valley’s celebrated husband and wife Pop Art team – Karen and Tony Barone. Their works have been collected and exhibited around the world.
I jumped at the chance to visit their hosted open house last week at Goldfield Home and Art on El Paseo in Palm Desert – during the monthly art walk along El Paseo. While sipping champagne, my friend Candy introduced me to her friend, Mary Orlin; who’s husband Jon is filming a documentary about this dynamic art team duo. Something I don’t want to miss as soon as it comes out.
Almost every fashion show I’ve gone to, the Barone’s have been there too, as well as every Modernism opening night party at the convention centre and other happening social events around town. They’re the topic of many conversations and for good reason. Wherever they show up your eyes immediately travel to Karen; a tiny, colorful chameleon-like butterfly. If anyone is her own muse, it’s Karen. Fun and fabulous with her fantasy fashion choices that compliment her personality. Karen has been designing clothes for most of her life; out of necessity, she says, due to her “tinier” figure that makes it difficult to find things that fit. Oh; I hear you Karen. Ha!
Karen herself is a work of art. A kind of mythological being as Tony has exhibited with his goddess-like visual paintings of her. Some of their sculptures and paintings appear childlike but many come with a message.
Remember the 9 giant wild rabbit installation you couldn’t miss when travelling from Rancho Mirage to Palm Desert? Well, you had to be here.
The aluminum sculptures were created by the Barone’s. I don’t know this to be fact, but I’m wondering if it was to do with calling attention to the wild rabbit population across Europe being wiped out due to a deadly disease in the last few years. I’ll have to find out.
And this one:
DETAIL: Karen Barone enters the photo … not to take sides but “for scale”…
There are many issues dividing our country and ripping this nation apart… the one being addressed in this work of art is “The right to bare arms vs gun control”… Each side of this debate are deeply entrenched … this painting enters the conversation in terms of highlighting the division.
The “ENDANGERED SPECIES” is America … America is represented by the United States one dollar bill … also symbolic of the USA is the American Bald Eagle … in this painting the eagle is presented as a mythological female… part human … part bird: head of an eagle … wings for arms…
Check out this unique video art: “Spicy Playtime – Don’t Card Me” with Karen Barone
Modernism week in Palm Springs is considered the holy grail of modernist design celebrating mid-century architecture and culture from 1946 to 1973.
With a plethora of all kinds of events taking place all over town, people enjoy swanky home tours, themed parties, fashion, art, film and talks. Something for everyone.
I happen to be a film/music/classics lover so took in a legendary screening of a once-upon-a-time live television show called “Our Town” which was filmed very much like a play. The presentation was shown at the intimate Annenberg Theatre, located inside the Palm Springs Art Museum. I chose it after learning how extremely careful they had to be to re-master this 1955 musical about a small New Hampshire town in the early 20th century where change comes slowly. Starring Frank Sinatra , Paul Newman and Eva Marie Saint. Followed by a panel discussion about Sinatra’s greatest decade in music and film.
For me, you guessed it – Sinatra was the main draw. Just seeing him in his prime singing songs both familiar and forgotten was worth checking out. But I never realized how great an actress Eva Marie Saint was. Now 98 years old, Saint played a very convincing17 year old, even though she was in her early 30’s at the time. No wonder she won an Academy Award in 1954 for best supporting actress for “On the Waterfront.” The very same year that Sinatra won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “From Here to Eternity.”
So is everything old, new again? Not necessarily. Considered a lost treasure, this musical with a very poignant message, was telecast a few times in the past at the Museum of Broadcasting in Manhattan.
This episode was a musical adaption of Thornton Wilder’s 1938 play “Our Town,” (later made into a movie) with songs by Jimmy van Heusen and Sammy Cahn. Based on the play, the story shares the idea that we live life without really appreciating what it has to offer. Once we die, and are able to see what we had, it is really too late. Major themes of the play include mortality, appreciating life, companionship and marriage, love, and the circle of life. As the subject matter suggests: there is something eternal in all of us.
Perhaps I’m feeling nostalgic even though this was before my time – more my parents time. Maybe I’m trying to relive a bit of their past. A much simpler, old-fashioned more glamorous era that I’d prefer to have been a part of; except for the fact that I might not be around now. A time when milk and newspapers got delivered every morning and nobody locked their front doors. Sadly, a bygone era.
Immediately following the screening there was an interesting panel discussion with filmmaker Jim Burns, Sinatra’s granddaughter Amanda Erlinger (Nancy’s daughter) and Executive Producer, Brook Babcock. Erlinger was kind enough to share archival photos from her fascinating personal collection along with stories about her famous grandfather. We had an insider’s glimpse into his life. One thing for sure is that he appreciated his fellow musicians and went to great measures to make sure they got treated fairly.
Some fun facts about the show:
37 million viewers tuned in for the show which was filmed in one take and in 3 parts, very much like a play itself. Speaking of theatre in general, we wonder why it is that Sinatra never ended up doing a Broadway play or musical during his long career.
“Our Town” is the only time Paul Newman and Sinatra headlined together in a narrative production. Newman and Eva Marie Saint would subsequently lead the cast of Exodus together in 1960.
All episodes of this Producers’ Showcase were broadcast in full color although only black and white *kinescopes remain for most of the shows, including “Our Town” as well as a 90-minute version of “The Petrified Forest” starring Humphrey Bogart, Henry Fonda and Lauren Bacall.
A bit of cinematic history:
A few years ago at the Palm Springs Film Festival (PSIFF), I really loved the documentary “Sinatra in Palm Springs: the Place he Called Home.”
*kinescopes were used to make records of live television programs before videotape recording was practical. They were in common use in the late 1940s, and were replaced in the 1950s by videotape.
If you’re interested here is the original movie of “Our Town” starring another Palm Springs local – the late William Holden.
Palm Springs is getting ready once again to celebrate all things Modernism.
Modernism Week’s signature February Event is an annual celebration of midcentury modern design, architecture, art, fashion and culture. Modernism Week features more than 350 events including the Palm Springs Modernism Show, Signature Home Tours, films, lectures, Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tours, nightly parties and live music, walking and bike tours, tours of Sunnylands, fashion, classic cars, modern garden tours, a vintage travel trailer exhibition, and more.
The mission is to celebrate and foster appreciation of midcentury architecture and design, as well as contemporary thinking in these fields, by encouraging education, preservation and sustainable modern living as represented in the greater Palm Springs area.
Feb 16, 2023 to Feb 26, 2023
Here’s one I’m looking forward to and it’s free:
For general information and tickets (many sell out fast) please visit:
Joy always comes together when mixing Art along with good company, food and wine.
Last night we celebrated the unveiling of a body of artwork that was sentenced to life in a storage unit. It’s now on parole as part of Art Palm Springs.
The late Spanish-Brazilian artist Maria Eugenia Casuso gathered her remarkable body of work and put it into storage in 1987.
Luckily for us, her nephew Alfredo Casuso, (he curated this event) unveiled it on Wednesday at Grand Central restaurant in Palm Springs. This along with wine bar, generous food sampling from their latest tasting menu and other thought-provoking works by local artists Georgeanne Papac and Gary Paterson.
A good time was had by all who attended this extraordinary opening.
Taken from Palm Springs Life Magazine:
Karyn Mannix, of karyn mannix contemporary, has been intrigued with Maria Eugenia Casuso’s artwork since she first heard Casuso’s story from David Perry when they were both working art fairs. “For years I’ve been trying to get a peek at it,” she exclaims. “I had seen images, but when I saw it, it was even better than it was in photographs. I always wanted to show it, especially in Palm Springs.”
Karyn Mannix classifies Casuso’s work as postmodernism, and “…that art movement between abstract expressionism, and not that it goes into pop art,
but it’s geometric abstract.”
Casuso also became a superstar in the interior design world, and was hired at the best design firm in Caracas. She spent 10 years traveling, designing, and living her life out loud.
Can’t say I normally pay any attention to those large dreary looking electrical, transformer or utility boxes that line street corners in every city. Just part of the landscape.
But have you been noticing them lately?
Energy infrastructure is only growing and electric boxes are becoming more needed than ever. Many of these structures have been around for decades, converting power for growing communities.
Thankfully, a new form of public art has been popping up all over the country. Colourful displays by local artists have turned these plain electrical boxes into opportunities for beautifying them in public spaces and showcasing local talent.
Palm Springs Public Arts is looking for love in all the right places with traffic boxes designed to link Public Art from the north end to the south end of Palm Springs.
As you can see here, they’ve done an impressive job of making them over.
There is no sense to buying this piece if you don’t own a pool!
This is, without a doubt, one of the most interesting art galleries I’ve been in – ever! While I was drawn to pretty much everything, I was most impressed with the works of Carole A. Feuerman and Anthony James (descriptions below).
CAROLE A FEUERMAN
Carole A. Feuerman was born in 1945 and is an American sculptor and artist working in hyperrealism. Feuerman utilizes a variety of media including resin, marble, and bronze. She attended Hofstra University, Temple University, and graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City to begin her career as an illustrator, creating album covers for Alice Cooper and the Rolling Stones, to name a few. She has been included in exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery; and Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy.
Anthony James is a British/American artist based in Los Angeles, known for his monumental and experiential sculptures and installations. James was born in England in 1974. He studied in London at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and graduated with a degree in fine art painting. His work gestures towards the theatricality of minimalism and formalism. There is a focus on materiality, alchemy, and a deep respect for light and space.
Also a performance artist, he is famous for setting fire to a Ferrari in a birch forest and entombing the ravaged car and trees in an installation called Kθ (2008). His practice incorporates a variety of industrial objects, steel vitrines, aluminum sculptures, detritus, and wall-mounted installations, his use of vitrines drawing comparisons to Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons.
There was also a room with photographs of many of my Palm Springs acquaintances. Only the most glamorous ones of course!
There have been many a photo taken and several articles written about the Modernism Museum prior to my visit yesterday.
The museum, which is fairly new to Palm Springs, was created by visionary artist, designer and friend Tracy Turco, so it was already obvious to me that it would be anything but mundane.
Clearly, it is a fun place to visit with exceptional attention to detail showcasing all things mid-century Modern from the late 50s to the early 70s era.
The museum is not only for tourists or locals but will serve the community as a gathering place to socialize in an inspired atmosphere located in the heart of Palm Springs. There’s a glittery disco roller rink at the back of the museum and a comfy colourful seating area which can be rented out for parties. How much fun is that?
This beauty salon contains vintage memorabilia as well as a hairdryer that Marion Davies sat under weekly in Hollywood when she was the mistress to William Randolph Hearst.
I took plenty more photos with my Samsung phone camera but think it best that you visit and take some yourself. In a place like this it’s very easy to get carried away and therefore, give too much away.
Let’s not forget the store where you can buy some fun stuff:
On Saturday I attended the opening night of “The Pearl Fishers” – George Bizet’s 1863 opera taking place at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver.
I went with my friend Rosa, who is an opera buff and always fills me in on what is good and what is not. The Pearl Fishers; a good Opera, is here in Vancouver until October 30th.
The opera is an aquired taste. Going to the opera is either a love or hate relationship for most people – unlike the storyline involved in most operas where love and hate coexist. I’m somewhat in the middle. If the sets are beautiful, if the costumes are exotic and the music is wonderful (and of course the singing is always excellent) then I’m happy. But like going to a foreign film where you have to read the subtitles to know what they’re talking about, in an opera our eyes tend to wander up and down between the stage and reading the lines high above the stage to find out what exactly they’re trying to convey. Things happen fast in opera land. It’s emotionally charged and super dramatic. Obviously over the top to make sure the point gets across, but with soulful song and dance. And simply gorgeous costumes.
If you want my simple synopsis of this opera, think Popeye the Sailor Man and his old muscular navy buddy Bluto whose friendship ends due to their rivalry over Olive Oyl. Maybe this is how bullying began – on the account of a woman.
Emily Cooper Photography
If you want the real synopsis here is the overview taken from the opera website:
The Pearl Fishers returns to Vancouver Opera for the first time in nearly 30 years. Directed by Vancouver favourite Rachel Peake, this dramatic opera tells the tale of two devoted friends and the woman that comes between them. The famous “friendship duet”, Au fond du temple saint, is one of the most beautiful and recognizable pieces in the opera repertoire. Be swept away by the lush orchestration and Bizet’s trademark melodies.
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